LuckyGirl's Journey with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Anal Cancer

Patient: Anal Cancer > Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: almost 5 years ago, Female, Age: 67, Stage IIIB

  1. 1
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    almost 5 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    Surgeon installed port on right side, after I told him I'm right-handed and sleep best on my right side. Surgeon also put the end of the tube in my neck instead of under my clavicle -- horrendously sore there, plus it is visible even with a normal collar. I'm happy to have a port because of vein issues, but not thrilled so far.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
    1 Comment
  2. 2
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    almost 5 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Port infected!

    Oh No

    Went in for first day of chemo and they don't like the looks of my port incision. It's a hard tender lump on the 5th day after implantation. They sent me for a sonogram to determine if I have a blood clot or an infection. Most thorough sonogram I've ever had -- from wrist to neck in great detail. A second person was called in to look at the screen, and after transmitting the report and pics to the oncologist, they determined that there was an infection. Chemo and radiation will be postponed a week while I take Cephalexin. I plan to enjoy freedom and good food for one last week before being tethered to a fanny pack filled with chemicals. It is what it is.

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  3. 3
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    almost 5 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Wow! Much easier than I expected (feared) AT FIRST. I had already had blood work out of the way, so went right to pre-meds (steroid and anti nausea tablets) and 30 mins of saline in the port. (Port access hurt for maybe ONE second, and no pain after that.) Next was a visit with the pharmacist, who went over side effects again, then 30 mins of mitomycin. After the mitomycin, the nurse put on her hasmat gear and set me up with 5FU, which will pump continuously for 96 hours. I make quite the fashion statement with that fat fanny pack, I'll tell you, but that is the ONLY side effect so far. So far so good! Haha! Re-reading this, I have to laugh. I think I wrote it on Day Two. Well, that night, all XXX broke loose. I felt nauseated in the middle of the night, but didn't have the nausea pills handy. Went downstairs and opened the bottle and passed out on the floor, hitting my head and spilling 40+ pills everywhere. I went on to experience most, but not all, of the common side effects: nausea, mouth sores, loss of appetite, change in taste, fatigue, nail discoloration (but not loss of nails, thank goodness!). I fainted several times in the middle of the night and early morning hours, fortunately with no serious injuries other than a sore shoulder. The good news is all the side effects were temporary. Fatigue was the last symptom to disappear, but at 3 months out, my energy level is almost back to normal. No other side effects remain except the nail discoloration, and nails are looking better now, if not perfectly normal. Glad it's over!!

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
    0 Comments
  4. 4
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    almost 5 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    External radiation

    Radiation

    The "agree" answers above refer to the radiation itself... If I answered about the set-up/sim process, answers would be at the other end of the scale. Set-up was brutal because I have trouble tolerating a full bladder for long periods of time, and for the last half of the process, I was afraid my bladder would burst. On the first day of actual treatment, they told me I could go to the bathroom before getting on the table because my bladder fills so quickly! Much, much easier without the bladder tension. I couldn't believe radiation was over so quickly. Another big relief! UPDATE: 3 months after completion. I had to change all the answers to "Strongly disagree" because as radiation went on, side effects became more and more serious and painful. However, at 3 months out, I'm doing much better. Fatigue has finally subsided, and my energy level is returning to near-normal. I still can't sit on a hard surface without pain, but burns have healed and all that's left is discolored skin in the pelvic area. Vaginal stenosis is a serious problem. Dilating is extremely painful; it's the only time I need pain meds now.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  5. 5
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    almost 5 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    Fatigue, loss of appetite, flu-like fever and chills, mouth pain.

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  6. 6
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    over 4 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    Rang the bell at the finish line for chemo earlier this month and rang it today after my last radiatiompn treatment! So happy both are over. My team told me the next two weeks will probably be the hardest. White blood count went too low and I'll be getting white blood cell booster shots next. Radiation burns are brutal, but they gave me lots of ways to make them less painful. Glad I've reached a major milestone.

    0 Comments
  7. 7
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    over 4 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Celebration

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  8. 8
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    over 4 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Remission

    Celebration

    Results of first CT scan and PET scan since finishing treatment: No Evidence of Disease (NED)! Grueling chemo and radiation were worth the pain and discomfort! So happy and excited!!

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  9. 9
    • LuckyGirl
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcin...
    over 4 years ago
    LuckyGirl's Avatar

    Remission

    Celebration

    First post-treatment CT and PET scans showed no evidence of disease. So happy to meet NED!

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